For 17 years, Col. Tommy Macon served Sampson County’s schools through his leadership as a principal and assistant superintendent.
In a couple of months, Macon will say farewell to Sampson County Schools. His last official day is Dec. 1.
“I will always have fond memories of my journey here in Sampson County,” Macon said. “My life has truly been enriched by opportunities to grow and, most of all, live the dream.”
Macon came to SCS in 2000 to become principal of Hobbton High School, before he was named Director of Secondary Education for the district. He now serves the district as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and student services. While speaking about his career, he talked about his pride in making sure students were successful, being fiscally responsible for educational needs and integrity.
Macon felt the decision to retire was made at the right time. Some of the reasons involved family and other journeys. He does not plan to spend a lot of time sitting at home. He stated that his goal is to work until he’s 80 years old.
“The journey goes on for me and it’s going to get better and better,” he said. “My life is always about service.”
As a resident of Fayetteville, he plans to serve his community by becoming a city councilman (District 5). He’s name will be on the ballot for the upcoming election in November. Macon said becoming involved with politics is one of his dreams. As a teen, he traveled door to door canvassing for a presidential campaign in 1972. He feels that politics is something that affects people’s lives in positive or negative manner.
“I feel like I’m a people person, more so, and not a politician,” Macon said about his vision to help people. “I believe in people power and I believe that people come first. Just like in education, our students come first. In political life, people come first. Not businesses, factories and ego trips — it’s about the people.”
He stressed that those feelings are the reasons he wanted to get involved with education.
“I wanted to level the playing field for all students to make sure that every student that came to my school had the opportunity to achieve success at a level they wanted to achieve and not be hindered because of their race, gender, size or whatever,” Macon said.
Along with other school leaders, teachers and principals, Macon played a part with SCS being ranked 18th in the state for student performance on state tests. It’s one of several accomplishments he’s been involved with over the years.
“It’s not about Tommy Macon; I’ve just been one little spike in the wheel and there’s many others,” he said. “I’m just fortunate to be part of a great school system.”
SCS Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said Macon has been an important part of the district for almost two decades.
“He has done a great job leading our Curriculum an Instructional efforts for the past four years,” Bracy said. “I appreciate him for all of his contributions to Sampson County Schools since my arrival.”
The Louisburg native earned a degree in industrial arts from Appalachian State University. During his days at the institution in Boone, Macon was active in JROTC. Macon later became a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. During his military career, he established credentials in the infantry, airborne, ranger and jumpmaster fields. He was selected for helicopter pilot duties and led aviation groups. Some of his assignments included Texas, Germany and Korea.
Macon also obtained a master’s in business from Central Michigan University and education from East Carolina University. Before SCS, he worked in Greene County in Snow Hill, where he taught JROTC, before he was offered an assistant principal position. He’s married to his wife, Gloria. Together they have two daughters. Although Cumberland County is home for the Fayetteville resident, he still feels a strong connection to Sampson County after spending many years in the area.
“I truly feel that based on my deeds and formed relationships, that I can proudly say that I am a Sampsonian,” Macon said.
A lot of those connections came through working with youths. He expressed how he always wanted the best for students during his days as an administrator.
“I take pleasure in knowing that I made a positive impact on children’s lives,” he said. “I am both humbled and proud of that fact.”
He reflected on a quote by President Barack Obama regarding his thoughts on never having enough time to accomplish every goal.
“In that sense, we’re like relay runners,” Macon said. “I’m just passing the baton. And just maybe I have moved that needle, just a bit further in the direction. For me I can truly turn the page and say that I did my best.”
As principal of Hobbton High, one of the mantras that he lived by was “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.”
“I’ve given my best to Sampson County Schools,” Macon said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.